A brave performance by the Lions saw Leinster work hard for their 21-13 victory in their United Rugby Championship clash at the RDS Arena in Dublin on Friday night.
It was a spirited performance from the visitors, with many expecting to be beaten by the hosts at the table top, but it wasn’t to be as the Lions fully penetrated the informational side.
Despite the improved showing, the Lions will be disappointed to have created enough chances to surprise and win the match, only to turn down chance after chance in the Leinster 22m.
Here are five key moments from the match.
Don’t take advantage of quick start
The Lions got off to a flying start to the game, putting Leinster under tremendous pressure at scrums and breakdowns, earning them two early shots on goal. But a cold boot from flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse ended up costing the Lions the head, as Leinster took the lead against the course of the game.
Lions scrum was unbelievable but lineout was dismal
The Lions set piece swung from brilliant to awful as their platoon put on an incredible show during scrum time, absolutely dominated the Leinster platoon, but that sadly went out the window when their lineout failed horribly for all the momentum they had to throw away built up.
Nearly every scrum on the Lions ball ended in a penalty for the visitors, but with the lineout in such disarray, Leinster practically threw up a jumper on every defensive lineout, or their maul defense just stopped the Lions. in their tracks.
Finishing Lions should be better
The Lions’ finish has been under scrutiny of late, with only four tries in their last four games. Again against Leinster, the Lions created several chances, which they were only able to capitalize on at the end of the game when it was too late.
The Lions made numerous 22m entries against Leinster but their attack was a bit toothless, leaving them unable to break an impressive home defence. Two key moments came with the Lions attacking on the Leinster line, only for them to turn the ball around.
Quick attempts after the break ended game
After going into halftime trailing 7-6 when they could have taken the lead, it was important for the Lions to come out in the second half, assert themselves from the start and try to get the upper hand .
However, the visitors went out completely in a disastrous four-minute period in which Leinster scored two converted maul attempts to take a 21-6 lead after 52 minutes. This effectively calmed the equalizer and meant the Lions had to make up for the rest of the game while also trying to keep out the hosts who were chasing a bonus point.
Young people stepped up
The Lions threw two youngsters in the deep end against Leinster, with 19-year-old Raun Venter filling in on the flank for Vincent Tshituka who was unable to travel due to problems with his documents, and 20-year-old Quan Horn who replaced full-back EW Viljoen who did not make the match 23.
Venter was an inspired choice. He produced a stormy performance, carrying the ball vigorously as he inconvenienced himself in the disturbance. Horn was equally impressive as a fullback, looking confident under the high ball and making some impressive attacking runs. His defensive reading was good too, as he made a crucial interception on the Lions tryline with Leinster on the attack.
Leinster: Tries: Dave Kearney, Michael Ala’alatoa, Scott Penny; Conversions: Ross Byrne (3)
lions:Try: Jaco Kriel; Conversion: Tiaan Swanepoel; Penalties: Jordan Hendrikse (2)